President-elect Donald Trump claimed responsibility for teen opera singer Jackie Evancho's 'skyrocketing' album sales. But did they really?

By Tierney McAfee
January 04, 2017 at 09:31 PM EST
Credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images; Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images

President-elect Donald Trump gave himself a pat on the back Wednesday on Twitter for what he described as teen opera singer Jackie Evancho’s “skyrocketing” album sales.

“Jackie Evancho’s album sales have skyrocketed after announcing her Inauguration performance.Some people just don’t understand the ‘Movement,’ ” Trump tweeted.

But have Evancho’s album sales really soared since her inauguration performance was announced, as Trump claims?

Well, it’s complicated.

The 16-year-old singer, the only solo vocalist who has agreed to perform at Trump’s upcoming inauguration on Jan. 20, announced her participation in the event on Today Dec. 14. While sales of Evancho’s most recent studio album, Someday at Christmas, have in fact seen a boost since the announcement, there are other factors involved — and Trump’s use of the word “skyrocketed” is arguably an exaggeration.

According to Nielsen Music via Billboard, which fact-checked Trump’s claim in an article published on Wednesday, Someday at Christmas sold 6,000 copies in the chart week ending Dec. 15. After Evancho announced her inauguration performance, Someday at Christmas sold 11,000 copies in the week ending Dec. 22 — a 94 percent increase from the previous week. The following week, the album sales dropped to 8,000.

However, Billboard points out that the album, which was released Oct. 28, likely got a bump from the approaching Christmas holiday.

“Most holiday albums receive a sales spike in the chart weeks approaching Christmas,” the outlet reported, adding that during the week ending Dec. 22, “sales of all holiday albums increased by 21 percent, and overall album sales were up 18 percent – increases handily beat by Evancho’s 94 percent gain with her Christmas album that week.”

Another likely contributing factor was Evancho’s performance on the America’s Got Talent holiday special, which aired on NBC on Dec. 19 and again on Dec. 29. Evancho rose to fame after she came in second place on the reality competition show’s fifth season in 2010.

Further detracting from Trump’s Twitter boast is the fact that none of Evancho’s other studio albums have returned to the Billboard 200 chart following the news of her upcoming inauguration performance, according to Billboard.

Trump’s inauguration has been fraught with controversy, with several A-list stars reportedly refusing offers to perform at the typically star-studded event.

So far, the only artists aside from Evancho who are confirmed to perform at the event are the Radio City Rockettes and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Even among these groups, some members have taken steps to avoid performing at the ceremony.

One Twitter user argued that Trump’s claim about Evancho’s album sales does more harm than good for his image:

“@realDonaldTrump Dear, best not to draw attention to the fact that the only one who agreed to sing at your Presidential Inauguration is 16,” Bess Kalb, a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live, tweeted.